unique persons, or numbers

i believe there is no absolute answer to this, but it is a common argument between qualitative vs. quantitative researchers in the field of education. was reading Chapter 17 on Case Study, and saw the following sentence:

“…in the study of human affairs, there appears to exist only context-dependent knowledge, which thus presently rules out the possibility for social science to emulate natural science in developing epstemic theory, that is, theory that is explanatory and predictive.” (Bent Flyvbjerg, 2011, p.302)

source: Flyvbjerg, B. (2011). Case study. In Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research (4th ed., pp. 301-316). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

this view basically represents my (world)view of our learners, as a teacher and teacher educator. every person has an unique sociocultural-historical background. while our individual experiences may overlap, it is unique from person-to-person, either as a learner or as a person. we are not factory products that can be standardised nor serial-numbered. in short, claiming representations or meanings in numbers where learners are concerned, is probably short of the full-er story.

story photo
(acknowledgement: photo by pompi)

flipped learning and language learning

翻转课堂一词流行好一阵了,孰不知翻转学习是其“衍进版”的概念。这两者有何不同?翻转学习又和华文、语文教学的关系是什么?这一篇东西其实是写来作引起讨论之用的。所以内容上还存在许多可进一步探讨、深究的地方 (:

created this piece of writing for the purpose of facilitating internal discussion. it’s not a fully polished piece of writing in the academic sense, especially from the theoretical perspectives of SLA. but well, the discussions on Feb 22 morning was good (but could be better) i thought (:

so here‘s the piece for your reading pleasure. 一共8页,中英文各4页:




“辅助”在我们一般非学术性的理解,即可有可无(cf. 辅助读本、读物、刊物)。

今天打开早报网,就看到了《为激发学生对华文兴趣费尽心思 ,十一教师获颁全国模范华文教师奖》。非常恭喜这11位教师,以及许多没有获奖的教师朋友们辛苦了。

zaobao.com report

(acknowledgement: SPH/zaobao.com)



一个人学习的原因种种,“兴趣”只是百般原因之一。一个人之所以学(或不学),应该归咎于“动机 motivation”。学生学任何学科学得如何,是动机所致。简单地把学习和“兴趣”挂钩,第一、我会反问“没有兴趣就不能学了吗?”;第二、这或许无意识地泄漏了个人认知的有限。语言反映思维,如果认知中有上述的理解,为什么舍“动机”而用“兴趣”呢?第三、这反映了华文老师的不够专业。“兴趣”一词,大多数非教育工作者都说得出。“动机motivation”却是一个相对专业的名词。要提升华文老师的专业身份,反映我们对于教学的认识与思考,我们得在用语上求专业化。

语言反映思维,思维则影响教学设计。从专业的思考出发,一套引起“兴趣”的教学设计 vs. 一套引起“学习动机”的教学设计,你认为会有不同吗?为什么? (:

再说回上面ICT的话题,一个ICT作辅助的教学设计 vs. 一个ICT促成学习的教学设计,你认为会有不同吗?为什么? (:

knowing the wrong answers

we were talking about assessment literacy last week. and i chanced upon this article via fb feed “Why Teachers Need To Know The Wrong Answers“. to be able to assess students’ learning and facilitate improvement, teachers need to know all the answers (and their corresponding Whys).

Screenshot 2016-04-18 08.30.26

some lines that caught my eyes include:
“‘Students are full of all kinds of knowledge, and they have explanations for everything.’ From birth, human beings are working hard to figure out the world around us.”

– and how often teachers are responsible for ‘killing’ this curiosity?

“‘cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts.'”

– very absolute terms here, very ‘science’ — right vs. wrong. what do we have that are clear cut right and wrong in CL? and how often are we able to tell why one is right and the other is wrong? how many CL teachers have acquired the necessary linguistics knowledge, or the awareness/ability to learn about them on-the-fly/on-the-job/on-demand?

“‘Teachers who find their kids’ ideas fascinating are just better teachers than teachers who find the subject matter fascinating,'”

– i am not sure how many teachers around me are actually FASCINATED by their students’ ideas. i suspect more ‘irritated’ & ‘frustrated’ than anything else.

“‘The next step is to give students exposure to the information and experience that will enable them to reason their way to the right answer.'”

– and how often teachers just tell students the “right” answers outright in the face? in the name of efficiency of learning?

which level are you at?

no, this is not a RPG question, nor a rhetoric qn.

was reading and saw reference to John Biggs (1999)’s Levels of Teaching Competence in his other article ‘what the student does? teaching for enhanced learning‘.

so, using RPG-like language, i can probably ask a teacher “which teaching level are you at?”, or “which teacher level are you?” 😛

a quick list of the focus of the 3 levels of teaching competence:

level 1: focus on what the student IS
level 2: focus on what the teacher DOES
level 3: focus on what the STUDENT does

level 1’s focus is on knowledge transmission. teacher’s responsibility is to lecture, and assume students will ‘absorb’. if students do not learn, ‘blame the student’ (in terms of deficit in ability, attitude, study skills, motivation (Samuelowicz, 1987).

level 2’s focus is very much on what the teacher does to transmit knowledge (concepts and understanding) to students. a teacher will aim to work at equipping oneself with ‘an armoury of teaching skills’. PD is focused on ‘HOWTOs’. the deficit now lies with the teacher. ‘blame the teacher’ for being incompetent (teaching is a bag of competencies) if s/he doesnt transmit knowledge well.

level 3’s focus is on students learning. one may argue that this requires level 2’s competencies as a basis. perhaps so. but the focus is on what the student does, and the key qns for consideration is “what it means to understand those concepts and principles in the way we want them to be understood?”, and “what kind of teaching/learning activities are required to reach those kinds of understanding?” (p.63)

level 3 is ‘student-centered’ teaching. 1 & 2 are teacher-centered.